Someone told me that Eldritch Moon previews start today. That is damn terrifying. It feels like Shadows over Innistrad JUST came out — Eternal Masters literally did JUST come out — and there's already another spoiler season upon us. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. There are roughly 18 sets being released this summer, so strap in — we're about to find out just how much Diminishing Returns the Magic: the Gathering hype machine has, if it even has any. I'm pumped.
This week's sales data comes off a Legacy double-header, but those cards are pretty expensive, so none of those really cracked the Top 10. This story of this week's list is one of a handful of savvy Buyers who saw amazing cards at low prices and bought in. Let's dive in.
Standard's got a healthy mix of aggressive, midrange, and control strategies all seeing widespread play, but a nice wrinkle I've seen lately is how one strategy can take on elements of another. Midrange taking on elements of a control deck, especially post-sideboard, is common, but an aggro deck boarding into midrange cards is something we don't see every day.
Last weekend's Orlando Open winner Tom Ross sported two Gideon, Ally of Zendikar in his sideboard, allowing him to attack from a different axis in the midgame if he so chose. Thraben Inspector plays on this idea, supplying a fine body in the early game and an extra card in the mid-to-late game. When W/R Humans is in a topdeck war with a midrange opponent and it's got an Always Watching or two in play, Thraben Inspector is simply one of the best draws the deck can cough up.
Paper Pauper is on the rise, and now burnies can get their Chain Lightnings for way cheap, thanks to the boost in supply that Eternal Masters offers.
Eldritch Moon Just makes this card way better, right? It has to. I'm choosing to believe that it does. That's my expert analysis.
The aggro deck of choice in Shadows over Innistrad Standard isn't a mono-red deck, but Mono-White Humans. and Thalia's Lieutenant is the cornerstone of the archetype, as seen in deck like Tom Ross', above.
Thought-Knot Seer, along with Reality Smasher, makes up not only the deck that terrorized Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, but also comprises a new deck that's one of Modern's best:
The best Ball Lightning we've seen in a looooong time, and between this and Thought-Knot Seer, it looks like we're experiencing a rush on the more midrange Eldrazi cards. And why not? They're awesome cards in their own right, and now that Emrakul's in Eldritch Moon, now's probably a great time to get in on the ground floor on these Eldrazi.
Ah yes, everyone's favorite Man-o'-War that R&D forgot to test in Standard. This card's been a format staple since day one of Oath of the Gatewatch, but if W/G Tokens keeps trending upwards, it might see a small dip in play.
A pretty sweet brew made Top 4 last weekend.
I've long thought that combining Always Watching and Dragonlord Ojutai was the trick to making a white/blue deck work in Standard, but I'm pretty sure DeCandio's onto something here. This deck just never loses to W/G Tokens, right? There are too many fliers here, plus some disruptive elements in Reflector Mage and Stasis Snare, for their Planeswalkers to ever be any good. This is an archetype worth keeping an eye on for sure.
The lack of traction that Reid Duke's Grand Prix Minneapolis got is criminal.
This deck does a TON of cool things, and Tireless Tracker is the crux of all of them. Have you ever untapped with The Gitrog Monster AND a Tireless Tracker in play? It RULES. Here's an example of one of those turns:
"Okay, upkeep, I sacrifice a land and draw a card off The Gitrog Monster. Now I draw for my turn. Play Evolving Wilds, make a clue. Sacrifice Evolving Wilds — draw a card off The Gitrog Monster — go get a Swamp, and I'll investigate. Sacrifice a clue, drawing a card and growing my Tireless Tracker. Play my second land of the turn, thanks to The Gitrog Monster, and get another clue. Where are you going the game's not over yet hey wait come back"
That's a pretty typical turn with that deck, but by the end of it, you're up ten thousand cards and have an overwhelming advantage in the game. That's the power of Tireless Tracker.
Eldrazi Displacer, known beater of W/G Tokens, as well as many other decks, appears at #20. That card is so good. Arlinn Kord shows up at #12 as more players try her out in Naya Planeswalker decks and find that they like what they see. Arlinn Kord also makes an appearance in Melissa's article today, which is definitely worth a look because Melissa always brings the heat with her brews. Speaking of that Naya Planeswalkers deck, the card that makes the deck work — Oath of Nissa — clocks in at #14. Here's the deck, in all its glory:
Adam picks the column back up on Friday. Thanks for reading.